How to Politely Reject a Job Offer

reject a job offer

With more than three-quarters of our registered Virtual Vocations members applying to up to three telecommute job openings per month, according to our 2015 Year-End Report, the need to decline a job offer is a reality for many job seekers. 

If you find yourself fortunate enough to be presented with multiple job offers, follow our advice on how to politely reject a job offer while still retaining a positive relationship with the employer.

Be Gracious

First and foremost, thank the employer or hiring manager for the job offer as well as the opportunity to apply and interview with the company. You’ll sound more genuine and less generic if you highlight a specific incident or people that resonated with you such as, “From the moment I submitted my application, Katherine and Russ in HR made me feel as though I could seamlessly become part of your team.”

Bonus Tip: When possible, decline the job offer via phone. The employer or hiring manager will appreciate this personal gesture, which will benefit your candidacy if you ever again decide to apply to work for the company. 

Be Swift

Now’s not the time to be self-indulgent, especially if you have gotten the impression that the hiring manager really wanted you for this role; now’s the time to turn down the job offer in as quick and painless a manner as possible. In essence, don’t write War and Peace about how you really wish it could have worked out and you’re so terribly, incredibly, agonizingly sorry to disappoint them and you’ll lose sleep over what a total meanie you are. Instead, succinctly express your gratitude and respectfully decline.

Bonus Tip: The swift rejection of an employer’s job offer also benefits the company. Whenever you know that the job isn’t the right fit for you, let the company know so that they can begin reaching out to other candidates. 

reject a job offer
Be Generous

You may not be the right fit for the role you’ve been offered, but maybe you know someone who is. When informing the company of your decision, suggest a qualified fellow job seeker for consideration to not only ease the disappointment of the employer, but also bank some professional karma points for your next job search.

Bonus Tip: Look to your professional network, including your LinkedIn connections, for potential candidates. 

Be Forward-Looking

Keep your options open. Sure, you’re swimming in multiple job offers now, but there may come a time in the not-so-distant future when you’re back to square one in the hiring pool. Rather than simultaneously rejecting a job offer and allowing arrogance to burn bridges with the employer, keep the door open to future opportunities.

Bonus Tip: Don’t limit future opportunities only to job offers. In your new job, you may find occasions where it is appropriate to network or conduct business with the employer whose job offer you declined. 

Have you recently had to reject a job offer? Share your answer when you connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. We’d love to hear from you! 

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About Kimberly Back 770 Articles
Kimberly Back is the Content Division Manager at Virtual Vocations. Prior to beginning work with Virtual Vocations in 2012, Kimberly was a subscriber and advocate of Virtual Vocations' services. She has exclusively worked from home since 2009.